Mark Martin Lucky in Vegas While Danica Patrick Makes History

Mark Martin, driving the No. 32 Dollar General for Turner Motorsports for the first time, not only was lucky with his fuel mileage but also took advantage of the bad luck of Brad Keselowski to win the 15th Annual Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

[media-credit name=”Gary Buchanan” align=”alignright” width=”239″][/media-credit]This was Martin’s 49th Nationwide win Series win, making him the seventh oldest driver to win a Nationwide race.

“We only had one chance to win the race and that was to win it on fuel,” Martin said in the media center after celebrating his win in Victory Lane. “When I caught Brad, I realized that it was going to take all the gas I had to get past him.”

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“Trent (Owens) gave me great information,” Martin said of his crew chief, who scored his first win ever. “I managed to back off the throttle and wait to see if Brad (Keselowski) would make it or not.”

“It worked out for us today,” Martin continued. “It was a great team effort. Turner Motorsports is doing such good work and I wanted to get in there and be a part of it.”

“It was a real special win for us,” Martin said. “We got us another trophy and that’s all I care about.”

Martin’s Turner Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier also had good luck in Vegas, scoring a second place win in the No. 31. This was Allgaier’s third top-10 finish in three races at Las Vegas and his second top-10 finish in 2011.

“This was a really good finish for us because we battled through a lot of adversity,” Allgaier said. “To be able to come out of here one, two and to be able to be beat by Mark Martin, as much as I wanted to win the race there is only one person in the garage that I’d rather have beat me and it would be Mark.”

“Mark is really cool.”

While luck was on the side of Martin and Allgaier, Brad Keselowski had some of the worst luck of the Vegas Nationwide race weekend. According to Keselowski, the weekend started bad and ended even worse.

“We started off this weekend and we were atrociously bad,” Keselowski said. “My team worked all weekend long and found speed in my car.”

“From there we used great strategy and smarts to get in position to win the race,” Keselowski said. “I was trying to conserve my stuff and felt we had it, but obviously didn’t.”

“I just ran over something because it went down pretty quick,” Keselowski said of his blown tire. “It was just one of those days where you do everything right and don’t win. That’s why they call it racing.”

“I just feel bad for my guys,” Keselowski continued. “We’ve had three great cars in the last three races and something has happened. It just has to come back around. We’re on the down side of the roller coaster and I’m ready for it to come back up.”

While Martin took the checkered flag, Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 GoDaddy.com for JR Motorsports crossed the finish line in the fourth position, making her own brand of history as the highest finishing female ever in a NASCAR national series. With Patrick’s fourth place finish, she topped the record of Sara Christian, who finished fifth in 1949.

“I guess that’s something I don’t think about,” Patrick said when asked about her history-making run. “I don’t think about trying to be the highest finishing female. I just think about trying to win the race.”

“It was a good day,” Patrick, running in just her 16th race, said. “We just had a good car. I knew it from the beginning of the race.”

“We worked so hard on the car this weekend and we did have a lot of practice time, which was good,” Patrick said. “I missed those lucky dogs like three more times and we finally got it.”

“It allowed me to be consistent at the end, cautious and not over drive,” Patrick said. “It was a good day for GoDaddy and JR Motorsports.”

Trevor Bayne, the Daytona 500 winner, rounded out the top five for the Sam’s Town 300. After a fairly chaotic run last weekend at Phoenix, Bayne felt most fortunate to have been so close to the front of the field.

“It was cool to get a top-five out of that,” Bayne said. “You take them how you get them.”

“It is awesome for these guys to get a top-five and we probably didn’t deserve it,” Bayne continued. “But we saved gas and put ourselves in that position. I can’t wait to watch the tape on this one.”

Carl Edwards, who had been so dominant in the early part of the race, finished in the sixth position. Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Jason Leffler and Kenny Wallace rounded out the top ten.

Reed Sorenson maintains the Nationwide Series points lead, with Ricky Stenhouse and Jason Leffler following closely behind in second and third respectively. Danica Patrick and Justin Allgaier round out the top five in the point standings.

Unofficial Race Results
Sam’s Town 300, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 5, 2011 – Race 3 of 34

Pos. St. No. Driver Make Pts. Bon. Laps Status

1 – 32 Mark Martin Chevrolet 0 0 200 Running

2 – 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 42 0 200 Running

3 – 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge 0 0 200 Running

4 – 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 40 0 200 Running

5 – 16 Trevor Bayne Ford 39 0 200 Running

6 – 60 Carl Edwards Ford 0 0 200 Running

7 – 20 Denny Hamlin Toyota 0 0 200 Running

8 – 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 36 0 200 Running

9 – 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet 35 0 200 Running

10 – 9 Kenny Wallace Toyota 34 0 200 Running

11 – 30 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 33 0 200 Running

12 – 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet 32 0 200 Running

13 – 62 Michael Annett Toyota 31 0 200 Running

14 – 11 Brian Scott Toyota 30 0 200 Running

15 – 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet 29 0 198 Running

16 – 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 28 0 198 Running

17 – 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 27 0 197 Running

18 – 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 26 0 196 Running

19 – 99 Ryan Truex * Toyota 25 0 195 Running

20 – 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet 24 0 194 Running

21 – 1 Mike Wallace Chevrolet 23 0 193 Running

22 – 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Dodge 22 0 193 Running

23 – 97 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 21 0 193 Running

24 – 15 Timmy Hill * Ford 20 0 193 Running

25 – 28 Derrike Cope Chevrolet 19 0 190 Running

26 – 81 Donnie Neuenberger Dodge 18 0 189 Running

27 – 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 17 0 181 In Pit

28 – 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 0 0 168 Running

29 – 70 Shelby Howard Chevrolet 15 0 165 Running

30 – 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 0 0 130 In Pit

31 – 79 Jennifer Jo Cobb * Ford 13 0 127 Running

32 – 141 Carl Long Ford 12 0 83 In Pit

33 – 40 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 11 0 72 Out

34 – 27 J.J. Yeley Ford 0 0 25 Out

35 – 25 Kelly Bires Ford 9 0 14 In Pit

36 – 55 Brett Rowe Chevrolet 8 0 12 In Pit

37 – 24 Kevin Lepage Ford 7 0 11 In Pit

38 – 39 Josh Wise Ford 6 0 10 In Pit

39 – 52 Daryl Harr Chevrolet 0 0 8 In Pit

40 – 103 Charles Lewandoski * Dodge 4 0 6 In Pit

41 – 168 Tim Andrews Ford 0 0 4 In Pit

42 – 44 Jeff Green Chevrolet 2 0 2 In Pit

43 – 87 Kevin Conway Chevrolet 0 0 2 In Pit

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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